A CAFE owner has described an "emotional" return as she prepares to reopen her business after months of closure.

Natalie Demetriou, who runs Lost In The Lanes in Nile Street, Brighton, said she is excited about reopening the café doors once again this week, as restrictions are eased today.

Since March last year, there has been only a five-month period when the specialist brunch, lunch and coffee café could open.

The business, which relies on custom from office workers, shoppers and tourists, was unable to even operate on a takeaway basis.

The café has also faced challenges due to renovations happening at nearby buildings, affecting its ability to open outdoor space.

Natalie said: "We are very excited, and quite emotional too.

"We've had customers call us to book a table and tell us this will be their first venture outside in over a year.

"What an ordeal some people have had this last year.

"To be remembered by our valued customers after all this time is a fantastic feeling."

Natalie is among the small business owners in the city taking part in the Shop Small campaign by American Express.

British artists Yukai Du and James Andrews were commissioned to design colourful “Come On In” signs for participating shops.

The Shop Small Offer gives card members £5 back when they spend £15 in participating businesses between June 5 and June 25.

Natalie said: "Whilst we have evolved and diversified, with finish-at-home brunch kits and our new seafood street food concept, Tide – nothing is quite the same as seeing regular, local faces come back through your door.

"It is really the reason that most small business do what they do.

"This is why the Shop Small campaign resonates so well with us, as it is helping to maintain and build these precious relationships.

"Every time someone chooses to go back to a small local business you are supporting your whole community.

"The campaign is really powerful at creating that narrative - that we should support the infrastructure and lives around us."

Lost in the Lanes is opening today with a new summer menu, with healthy fresh breakfasts suitable for vegans and gluten free diets.

Natalie added: "We are looking forward to pairing our coffee with the delicious ice cream made by one of our small shop neighbours as an affogato dessert.

"We cannot wait for customers to try this.

"Despite the challenges, we hope we are able to resume where we left off last March and that our customers will remember us and our hard-earned reputation will not be lost."